The What/When/Why/How: Question 1

I recently answered several interview questions for a photography student and one of their projects. Thought it might interest some of you readers out there. I’ll post several of these questions/answers in coming weeks.

Q: You cover a variety of fields – how did you get into each, do you feel more passionately about one over the other, does one bring in more work?

A: I found my passion for photography in scenic landscape work. That really made up the majority of my portfolio early on. It was natural for me, and I loved the fact that I didn’t need to rely on anyone else to excel at this type of photography. It was just me and Mother Nature. No athletes, no truckload of extra equipment. No stylist. No creative director. No one—but me. That meant that the entirety of my success or failure could be blamed on or awarded to one individual (myself), and ultimately it made me into the intense self critic and perfectionist that I am today.

Soon enough, I began to shoot more active lifestyle work, but it was much more difficult for me to commit to shooting activities like fly fishing and skiing. I loved DOING them too much to put my photography first. I still have a great time participating in these activities, but I know when to put my photography first. I also know when to put the camera down, and cave to my need for a little “me” time on the mountain or the river.

As I began to look at photography from more of a business standpoint, I realized that a) scenic work was difficult to sell/license and b) active lifestyle work was much easier to sell/license. After that came the epiphany that although there was money to be made in the action sports arena, it wasn’t prolific. Soon, I began looking into commercial architectural work, and in a broader sense, I began to hone in on travel/tourism and destination clients. My ideal commercial client is one that needs superb imagery that conveys a sense of place and experience. They need scenic work, active lifestyle work and architectural work—think destination resorts.

To this day, I still love scenic landscape work most. It’s what first made me fall in love with photography. Active lifestyle is a close second—it gets me out doing what I love, and the more I shoot it, the more opportunity I find to share the experience in unique and different ways. Commercial destination work pays a good part of my bills. I enjoy it for sure, but it’s definitely not first on my list by any means.

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